Toothpaste dilemma!

As a dentist, the most common question I've been asked is "which is the best toothpaste?" With the number of options available in the market today, choosing a toothpaste can be a daunting task! Should you go for a whitening toothpaste? Or one with tartar control? Or Fluoride? And to complicate things further, companies promote their brands in forceful ways. There are a gamut of advertisements on air and in print today trying to lure as many customers as they can. But is one toothpaste really better than another?

When it comes to choosing the best toothpaste for you, it's important to think about your unique individual oral health needs. Toothpastes are available in the form of pastes, gel or powder. There are various types of toothpastes.
  • Fluoride Toothpastes :  The most important ingredient to look for in a toothpaste is fluoride. Today, most of the toothpastes available in the market contain fluoride. Fluoride has been instrumental in the drop of cavities and tooth decay over the last 5 decades. Fluoride makes the tooth enamel stronger and less likely to suffer acidic damage by bacteria and it can reverse the early stages of acid damage by remineralizing the areas that have started to decay.
  • Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth :  If your teeth are generally sensitive and easily irritated by hot and cold temperatures, there are toothpastes available for such situations. These toothpastes contain Potassium Nitrate or Strontium Chloride which help in reducing sensitivity by blocking the pathways through the teeth that attach to nerves inside the teeth and can take upto a month to reduce sensitivity. 
  • Tartar Control / Gum Care Toothpastes : Everyone develops a layer of bacteria on their teeth called plaque. If the plaque isn't removed with proper oral hygiene it calcifies into a hard layer called tartar which ultimately leads to gum disease. Tartar control toothpastes have certain ingredients like pyrophosphates and zinc citrate to reduce the tartar buildup. Some also have an antibacterial Triclosan which kills the bacteria. 
  • Whitening Toothpastes : These don't contain bleaching agents that change the colour of the teeth, but contain abrasive particles or chemicals that effectively polish the teeth and remove stains. 
  • Children's Toothpastes : Are available without fluoride for children below 2 years of age and with a small amount of fluoride for children between the ages of 2 and 6 years. These toothpastes are also flavored favorably to appeal to a child's taste.
The bottom-line is, choose a fluoride containing toothpaste that works for you as an individual. A biannual (every 6 months) visit to the dentist for a check-up and professional teeth cleaning remains a must and cannot be replaced by any over the counter product.


  1. I think another criteria should be to choose SLS free toothpastes. There are a very few brands that are SLS free but it is a must for Kids' toothpastes! :)

    1. A very valid point Swapna, thankyou. SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) is commonly used as a foaming agent in toothpastes and shampoos. Toothpastes for kids below 3 years of age are usually SLS free, but a better option for everyone is to opt for fluoride containing herbal toothpastes which are more environment friendly.

  2. Great info Pooja...hv to check about SLS in my son's toothpaste.

  3. very informative and nicely written! New like on fb!

  4. thank you for sharing such an important info....

  5. Very Informative post Pooja.

  6. Thank your for share with us an important information.

  7. Nice blog...! Remember, children should spit out toothpaste after brushing to avoid getting too much fluoride. Thanks for sharing the information with us...

    Pediatric Dentist in Mulund


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